BY BRANDY TUZON BOYD
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
Inderkum High School students put in motion a campaign of kindness today in response to a classmate’s apparent suicide.
“There are notes all over the atrium, in the restrooms, in every hallway – so many positive notes everywhere,” senior Karen Vargas said. “In the bathroom there (were) even letters in the stalls for anyone to read.”
News of a 17-year-old’s death reached Natomas Unified School District officials Monday morning, prompting the district to dispatch its Mental Health Team to assist school counselors at the Natomas campus.
Four classrooms have been established as support centers for students, according to Superintendent Chris Evans. Specialists and school staff members, he said, are helping students cope with the death.
But it’s the students themselves, Evans said, who are trying to turn a sad event into an opportunity to connect with each other in a positive way.
As news of their classmate’s death began to circulate via social media Monday afternoon and evening, Inderkum students launched a “pass it on” campaign in his memory.
Students have posted and left notes throughout the campus and photographs of these messages of kindness are being circulated via social media with the tag #passiton.
Cebrina Jackson, who has a freshman and senior at Inderkum, said her daughter sent her pictures of notes and letters written by leadership students. She also saw photos on Twitter.
“I think this was a excellent way for the kids to cope with this. It showed how they cared about each other,” Jackson said. “And (let) people know that someone cares about you even when you think you’re alone.”
Students not in leadership joined the campaign and the notes started spreading, Vargas said.
“I think this is amazing, Inderkum has come together to just brighten everyone’s day and make everyone realize how fortunate and important they really are,” Vargas said.
Evans said a ConnectEd message went home to Inderkum families via telephone and email about the student’s death (see below). Extra counseling services will remain available on campus throughout the week, he said.
This message comes with a heavy heart. On Monday we learned that one of our Inderkum students had passed away. In an effort to support our students and staff, we’ve had a number of extra support professionals on campus. For the past two days site and district counselors, school psychologists and other specialists have been available for students and staff to help them through the grieving process. Inderkum and Natomas Unified are committed to providing the support our students and staff may need. These additional resources will remain available this week. On an on-going basis, Inderkum and Natomas Unified have a number of social emotional support resources for students and their parents. Please visit our Inderkum webpage, you will find Social Emotional contact information as well as after hours resources for you and your student. www.natomasunified.org/IHS
Especially at times like these, it’s important for parents and guardians to spend time together talking with their students. In addition, it’s important for parents and guardians to monitor their student’s participation in social media websites. With that said, please take time, talk with your student and see what, if any, assistance is needed at this time. Please contact the school now or at any time you or your student is in need of support or assistance.
If you have a question regarding this message or any support needs for your students, please reach out and call Inderkum High School at 567-5640.
Have a nice evening with your family and Go Tigers! Growl!
-Heather Garcia, Proud Principal